Remember... No one does Muay Thai like WCKMuayThai

words and images by Charles Little II for TEEPTHIS.COM

Joe Gogo vs Travis Clay for the WBC Muay Thai Lightweight National Title

What a night of fights and what a way to start the year! The Four Points Sheraton Hotel in sunny San Diego played host to this year’s initial WCK throw-down.  The house was packed and the crowd was hungry for the evening’s main event, the WBC Muay Thai Lightweight National Title bout between favorite Joe Gogo and Travis Clay.  I first caught Joe Gogo at WCKs Cali 16 when he edged out Renato Mansilla in a split decision.  Joe Gogo aka “Go Go Guam” is a super exciting fighter!  He’s got a lion’s heart, he moves like a boxer and always comes with a posse of followers screaming behind him; just super electric.  I knew that he was coming for that green belt, but I also know that Travis Clay was not to be taken lightly. Here’s a great article on Clay’s rise to prominence on the wings of his Lion Fight performances.  Albeit I’m a fan of both Gogo and Clay, I gotta admit internally I favored Clay; so it was simply impossible to stay in my seat ringside when these two went at it.  What an exciting fight! Gogo’s right hand and Clay’s left roundhouse sent the other reeling on their heels multiple times throughout this contest.  Gogo really came to win!  He got rocked once in round 4 but kept going forward so hard that he literally ran at Clay.  Yeah, it was THAT kind of amazing!  Remember when I told you that Gogo always comes with a crowd?  Yeah, well, this night was no exception.  The building rumbled when Gogo landed, when Gogo got caught and when the decision came out in favor of Clay after five rounds.  It was a tough pill for Gogo and his supports to swallow and promoter Dennis Warner was considerate allowing Joe Gogo to address his many supporters and congratulate his opponent as a true warrior would; and both Travis Clay and Joe Gogo are true warriors.

Stand by for the rematch I can almost say “that’s a promise”!

IAMTF Lightweight Champion Travis Clay with his team from Sitan Gym (Arizona)

IAMTF Women's Featherweight and Atomweight Title bouts.

I can easily say that three of these four fighters are the reason that I didn’t hesitate to buy my ticket to this fight the moment that I saw the card.

I’ve been following Alyshia Madison since I first got a taste of her and her coach Steven Frye (Victory MMA, San Diego) last year at WCKs Cali 14.  That’s the same night that my fascination began with Ana “Anaconda” Flores after her bloody showdown with Colleen Duffy, what a cracker!  Selina Flores has been making a name for herself steadily through 2016 and after witnessing her performance against Akari Wang last summer at WCKs Cali 16 I was committed to seeing just how the smaller in stature Ana Flores was going to deal with Selina’s reach and forward pressure.  Of course, I wasn’t aware of Amanda Derosa until she stepped into the ring with Alyshia Code Red.  San Diego is Alyshia’s home turf so she had the room behind her and admittedly me too.  But Amanda Derosa was a clinic to watch.  I loved her turtled muay-thai stance, her advancing jab, left switch-kick and man she was tough in the clinch.  These two clinched up quite a bit.  Madison was ever-poised and calm but Derosa consistently laid that glove across Madison’s face and she’s a deceivingly strong woman.  It was an honor to witness these two go at it and make some noise for both of them as Amanda took home the W and the IAMTF Featherweight belt.  Congratulations ladies I look forward to seeing more of you both.

Superstar photographer Fabian Lagunas took some
incredible photos of this and all the fights on this night
check out his instagram feed

New IAMTF Women's Featherweight Champion Amanda Derosa

WBC Muay Thai Super Welterweight title bout and superstar fighters from the San Diego Muay Thai scene

As soon as I snapped this shot of James Gregory walking out I instantly remembered catching him at WCKs Cali 14.  The coaches and students from San Diego’s Art of 8 Training had the place rocking for their fighters and it was great to see Mike Lemaire cornering Gregory once again!  I’m looking forward to catching Lemaire this month at Glory 37 here in Los Angeles.  If you haven’t gotten your tickets you’d better get to it!  James Gregory took home the W after three rounds; followed by Antonio Arango capturing an inspiring TKO over his opponent Jose Lopez which led to Antonio’s captivating victory pose!  The place went nuts and yeah so did I.  Check out Antonio’s instagram feed.  He’s a true nak muay and I look forward to seeing more of him in the future.

Last but not least in this post I’d be remiss if I didn’t hightlight David Pacheco and Super Landon Simmon‘s anticipated contests.  USKO gym (Riverside, CA) came out in strength to support both their fighters David Pacheco and Ana Flores.  I’ve only seen Pacheco and Joey Pagliuso fight on WCK Full Rules Muay Thai fights aired on Fox Sports Prime Ticket until now so it was great to watch Pacheco’s “get down” in the flesh.  Pacheco’s opponent Andrew Nguyen of Buhawe Muay Thai (Fresno, CA) was young, fresh, sporting these massive quads and had a nice crowd section pulling for him as well.  They both looked great, traded a lot and were very technical; but Pacheco’s experience, strength, and precision resulted in the win by TKO.  I also first learned of Super Landon Simmon by way of WCK Full Rules Muay Thai airings on Fox Sports Prime Ticket; and I’ve watched his fights repeatedly.  He’s a powerhouse and his style varies so he’s a clinic to witness.  Simmon successfully defended his WBC Muay Thai Super Welterweight belt against Francisco “El Travieso” Garcia (Valor Muay Thai, San Diego) with a spinning back kick to Garcia’s bread basket resulting in a win by K.O.  Both fighters had their share of highlight moments and the fight overall was another cracker to behold.  I’ll be certain not to miss the next opportunity to catch “El Travieso” in the ring! Here’s an interesting article on Garcia’s journey to take in.  You can add his name to your “Ones 2 Watch” list!

Again, head over to Fabian Lagunas’ instagram page for a great collection
of stunning images from this fight and the other fights on this night!

Enjoy the images here as well from your truly and head over to my photo journal
for more highlight moments from our burgeoning Muay Thai fight scene.

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